This week – June 6, specifically - is the anniversary of the 1944 invasion of Normandy. The date reminds us of this photograph, which we got via a shop in New Hampshire. The previous owner had no clue who the young men in the photograph might be. All we saw was that the guy in the middle was hovering over a sporty set of mid-20th century duco Leedys with tacked tom heads and not much to prevent them from skidding across the dance floor after the first downbeat.
Internet sleuthing didn't reveal this hep cat's identity, but it did tell us that the Lee Temple Orchestra performed at dances in New Jersey. We also discovered that Temple had to be the trumpet player here, a graduate of Maryland's exclusive McDonogh prep school, where he was acknowledged to be a good musician. He went on to study at Rutgers, where he and the other fellows in the photograph played at dances.
Temple was studying business, not music, when WWII broke out. He enlisted up in the U.S. Army Air Corps even before Pearl Harbor was bombed. By the time preparations were underway for the allied invasion of France, he was a piloting a P-38 twin-engined fighter-bomber. On the first day of the D-Day invasion, his squadron was flying over France and supporting ground troops when his P-38 was hit and Major Lee Temple was killed.
The internet can be a great tool for quick reference about a drum company badge, an oddball piece of hardware, or dating unfamiliar drums. When you dig deeper, you never know what - or who - you're going to find.